Many are Called but Few are Chosen

by Mike Ratliff

As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast.

They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:11-14 ESV)

There are three attributes of those who belong to Christ. No one else has these attributes. We see them in Revelation 17:14. Those with Christ, the Lamb who will conquer all His enemies for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, are called and chosen and faithful. In Matthew 22:1-14, our Lord tells a parable that is called “The Parable of the Wedding Feast.” In it our Lord describes the consequences that will befall those who believe their religiosity or position in the visible church is what earns them a place in the Kingdom, but who, in reality, are not among the chosen. 

Here is Revelation 17:14 from the ESV: “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

Here is Revelation 17:14 from the NA27 text: οὗτοι μετὰ τοῦ ἀρνίου πολεμήσουσιν καὶ τὸ ἀρνίον νικήσει αὐτούς, ὅτι κύριος κυρίων ἐστὶν καὶ βασιλεὺς βασιλέων καὶ οἱ μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ κλητοὶ καὶ ἐκλεκτοὶ καὶ πιστοί.

The word “called” translates κλητοὶ the nominative, plural form of the adjective κλητός or klētos. All uses in the New Testament speak specifically of those being “called” by God. No one comes to Christ unless they are first called. However, there is more to being in Christ than being called. The second requirement is that they are “chosen,” which translates ἐκλεκτοὶ the nominative, plural form of the adjective ἐκλεκτός or eklektos, which means “chosen, elected, set apart,” with the biblical implication that God is the one who chooses. The third attribute of those who truly belong to Christ is that they are “faithful,” which translates πιστοί the nominative, plural form of the adjective πιστός or pistos, which means “faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable.” This reference in Revelation is referring to those who refuse to compromise the Christian faith, even in the face of persecution and martyrdom. I believe that definition holds along with the Apostle Paul’s stance that he was “trustworthy” in his teaching because he never compromised. You get the idea.

So what we have here is that those who truly belong to Christ are called and chosen and faithful and we just looked at what that meant. Now think with me my brethren in our time of once faithful pastors and Christian leaders who have now compromised and allowed their teachings and ministries to become adulterated by mysticism or by fellowship with obvious compromisers of the truth. An example of this would be John Piper who was an excellent Christian Pastor and writer and Evangelist who has now partnered with Rick Warren and is also become associated with the compromised Acts 29 Network. John Piper would protest and say that we are accusing him through guilt by association, but how can any two walk together unless they are in agreement?

At the prompting from a friend I read this post by Frank Turk as I was putting this post together. It was amazing how everything laid out there that I was going to write about in light of Frank’s post and many of the comments. In light of that let’s look at Matthew 22:1-14.

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1-14 ESV)

Here is v14 from the ESV: “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Here is v14 from the NA27: πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοί, ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί.

Yes, Jesus used the very same adjectives here that John used in Revelation 17:14 to describe real believers. The only difference is that, here, we do not have καὶ πιστοί. In any case, let’s look at what our Lord is teaching us. As I said earlier, in this parable our Lord describes the consequences that will befall those who believe their religiosity or position in the visible church is what earns them a place in the Kingdom, but who, in reality, are not among the chosen.

The analogy of the kingdom of heaven is compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He sent his servants to invite the right people, but those invited would not come and even disrespected the invitation even going so far as to kill some of the servants. The king sent troops to kill them, burning their city. The wedding feast is still ready though. Therefore, the king had his servants invite everyone they could find to come in so the wedding hall was filled.

However, when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. He said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” The person without the wedding garment was speechless. Then the king had his servants bind the man hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Why? “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The called is who? This is referring to the “general call” of the Gospel or the “external call.” This is a summons to repentance in faith that is inherent in the Gospel message. This call extends to all who hear the Good News. Many hear it, but of those, how many respond? Those who truly respond in faith are the “chosen” or “elect.” The call that results in people responding to the Gospel refers to God’s irresistible calling extended to the elect alone (Romans 8:30). This is the effectual call. We see this in John 6:44 as well. The “chosen” enter the kingdom only because of the grace of God in choosing and drawing them. That is what Jesus meant in Matthew 22:14.

Now, in light of this and Revelation 17:11-14 in which those truly in Christ are also the faithful, what does this say about those who once appeared to be genuine, but later compromised and went apostate? I question Frank Turk and John Piper about that. I suppose their answer might be that they do not consider those compromises to be moves into apostasy, but they clearly are moves away from Orthodoxy and despite how faithful one is at one point in ministry Frank, it is faithfulness from beginning to end that counts. If you do not believe that then I suggest you read some of Paul’s epistles about some of his former associates who fell away…

Soli Deo Gloria!

23 thoughts on “Many are Called but Few are Chosen

  1. Thank you, Mike. Amen.

    It seems almost impossible to post contrary to Turk’s letter to Piper and any comments made on it. There are many accolades and sighs of relief coming from that blog. It appears all bases of potentially contrary opinions were covered so that no one outside the “Hooray Piper” camp dare post without foreknowledge of being chewed up and spit out.

    Now.. How can Turk currently sing the praises of Mr. Piper while:

    1. He has linked arms in “brother” hood with Rick Warren

    2. He maintains a tight relationship with Mark Driscoll who:
    founded Acts 29 Network which advocates “spiritual disciplines and formation”- whose roots are based in eastern mysticism (Driscoll points to guru Richard Foster’s methods of meditation on his other websites) These are not the “biblical kind” of disciplines. (in God’s Word we do not find one mention of these at all- none- they are completely man contrived)

    3. Piper joins with Driscoll; not as a “mentor”, but seems to be a peer as Driscoll did not publically repent of his foul language. Driscoll continues his X rated sex journey with conferences and a new book. This appears to be o.k. with Piper?

    4. Piper had a “sabbatical”. What was this from ? His church preaching? It seems his speaking engagements continued and even went as far as Edinburgh 2010 at Capetown. (Lausanne) Was this not an ecumenical conference linking what God’s word calls “unrighteous” (2 Cor. 6:14) “speakers” and even pastrix?

    5. As an advocate of Acts 29 Network and also charismatic leanings- such as “audible words from God” ; is this not ExtraBiblical teaching? Do some men call this “heresy”?
    Rev. 22:18. Deut. 4:2. Prov. 30:6

    6. Contextualization of scripture to suit the culture
    Is not God’s Word sufficient as is?

    The point being made here is what is condoned and promoted ‘currently’ by Mr. Piper seems to be outside God’s Word. How did this happen? Was Piper not long ago prodded by some Christian brothers to pull away from some of these men ?

    How can Turk justify and praise any man has veered off onto the track of Men. “if it’s part of a NEW WAY” (last Piper tweet prior to “sabbatical”)
    What “new way” is this?

    Praying that many may glean Biblical insight on this and not behead those who warn the flock (those who have eyes to see and ears to hear)

    In Jesus~

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  2. Just finished reading Frank Turk’s letter and comments!
    And I’m wondering, and praying much…because I so agree with
    what you are saying here!
    May the Lord give us grace to stand!

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  3. Dear Mike,

    Is there no FEAR of the Lord left anymore?

    Truly if anyone has any comprehension of appearing before the Judgement seat of the Living God they would FEAR.

    Reading through what are called “Christian blog” sites between the posts and the comment sections have we lost our minds?

    “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly,natural,demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” James 3:13-16
    These blogs and comments are riddled with snide remarks and “witty” sarcasim, belittling insinuation, malice, contentions, demeaning rhetoric, ridicule etc. and this is the status quo.

    This is a mockery of the grace that our Lord extended to us and is a black eye to the supposed “Christian” community.

    How do those act who are “called out”. They are different.

    They have wisdom from above: “is first pure, then peacable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” James 3:17

    “But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

    Dear Lord, I pray that you will have mercy and allow us to see the grossness of our iniquity and place your burning coals on our lips to purge the filth that comes from within our deceitful hearts. Let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling and remain faithful till the very end. “So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.” Daniel 9:17-18
    In the Great and Mighty and Everlasting Name of Jesus

    I praise God for your continuing in faithfulness to the Savior.
    Grace and peace, charisse

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  4. That’s it exactly Charisse! I see Frank as conceptualizing true Christianity and having to continually compromising to have peace at all costs while our Lord made it plain that the opposite is true. Yes, were is the Fear?

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  5. Hi Mike
    Surely when the focus is more on any man and his ministry and the goings on in his life, then it is off of Christ and we sit with a problem? How many do we hear of this happening to? The only One we can trust is the Lord Himself. Being a Christian minister is not belonging to a boys’ club, where pats on the back do the rounds. They are first and foremost servants to the Lord God then servants to His people. So many seem to forget that and get carried away by their flesh and egos and become big in their own sight – the fawning crowd around them also does not help…. Handing their own lives over to the Lord in absolute submission in every area, is missing in so many men who are supposed to be shepherds, so how can we expect to hear about living the Christian life from the pulpit when so many don’t know themselves?

    I agree with Charisse – where is the fear of the Lord?

    Bless you

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  6. Interesting post, Mike:
    It is tragic that people feel they have the liberty to re-invent God. They have it backwards…he is for them, rather than we are for Him. But then, as the Word has warned: “to suit their own desires”
    2 Timothy 4:3
    For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to he
    Relationships mean moreto them than faithfulness to his Word and in their lust for life, they have seared their conscience and lost the “fear of God”.

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  7. Mike, you have probably touched on this before, but would you consider a post on there being no “neutral” ground spiritually speaking? Some seem to think so….they live in a sort of purgatory where they don’t think they are following anyone or obeying anyone, only themselves. They don’t want to follow the Christ of scripture, thinking themselves neutral and captains of their own ships. But they don’t realize “we all gotta serve somebody.” There are only two kingdoms, there are only two possibilities, there are only two fathers (see John 844). Spiritually speaking there is not one neutral place on the whole planet. You are either for Him or against Him! Matthew 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

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  8. Good post, good comments Denise FG and Charisse, Mike.

    I too have witnessed the hypocrisy of those blogs. Charisse you hit the nail on the head.

    I agree with what Denise FG said too. I’ve said for years that Piper is a cancer to Christianity and he continues to make my point. I believe it all started back with his “Christian hedonism”.

    Frankly, I’m wondering why the “open letters” are even write, considering nothing new is said.

    I’ve noticed that for men like Turk, Johnson, Challies etc., its actually impossible for them to reject a whole man/ministry/book/church/movement/organizaton/school. The prevailing mentality is “truth in everything”, which is quite Post-modern thinking/reasoning.

    All manner of error and practice is acceptable if one says the magic words “Reformed”: heretical views of justification, Creation, speech, atonement; ecumenicism, inter-faith, Post-modernism–all of it is ignored and shoulders are slapped as they proclaim “what a brother in the Lord!” God doesn’t applaud such things. He will not say to Piper “Well done, my good and faithful servant”.

    Insurrection is not praised nor ignored by the King of kings.

    This is disloyalty to Christ by praising a man who’s commited not only treason but mutiny. This is not praise-worthy, but abominable. It is not grace, its licentiousness. Its not love but tolerance of wickedness.

    Rom 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.

    2Pe 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

    Joh 8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

    2Jo 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works

    Disobedience to the King’s commands such as these is treachery,especially doing it in His holy name.

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  9. Hi Mike,

    I pray for you, me and every precious Christian who commented here that we would all fight the good fight and finish strong in the faith until the end. Honestly, I think we dare not take one eye off the cross and mercy of Jesus Christ and look to one side or the other off the narrow path for even one moment. There is so much to distract us from Christ, so much that we get caught up in that takes up our time and energies that might be better spent in prayer and in learning submission and devotion to the Lord. Like Charisse and Steph said-where is the fear of the Lord?

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  10. OUTSTANDING Post and commentary Mike,
    OUTSTANDING responses Dauntless Denises, and all!!

    I read Turk’s latest “open letter to” installment re John Piper, and I for one was struck by

    1. Numerous respondents cited feeling “relieved” to find it wasn’t a rebuke (as all here noted also)

    2. Seems all (including Turk) were obsessed with tabulating how Piper and his book blessed and helped them YEARS ago, with nary a worry about
    Piper NOW being USED as one of the world’s biggest enablers of some of the world’s biggest and perversely influential “Christian” charlatans. That many of these “Christianity Lite” charlatans who are misleading millions cite Piper in defending their insidious poison, doesn’t seem to bother Turk a whit, speaks volumes about Turk.

    3. Seems to me that Turk is now showing symptoms of an “Open letter to Frank Turk” deficiency, may the Lord oblige him with one with a vessel of his choosing.

    Worthy is the Lamb!

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